Veuve Clicquot RICH – The Champagne for Mixologists

images2Each year LVMH unveils exclusive new products that celebrate the summer season.
One of their latest sun-drenched offerings debuts with “RICH”, a new champagne from Veuve Clicquot. Enveloped in seductive silver foil, RICH is an exciting new expression of Veuve Clicquot’s savoir-faire, created specially to be used in mixed cocktails. RICH is sweeter than other champagnes and brings out the best in the fruit and vegetable that it’s mixed with.

Cellar Master Dominique Demarville reconnected with the origins of Champagne-making traditions, when sparkling wines were dubbed “rich” because of their sugar content. A perfect example is the 1840 Veuve Clicquot found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea off the Aland Islands, which contained more than 150 grams of sugar.

Intrigued by this style of champagne, Demarville set out to reinvent this tradition with a fresh approach. Working with mixologists, he composed a cuvée with much higher sugar content than other Veuve Clicquot champagnes, at the same time increasing the percentage of Pinot Meunier grapes in the assemblage to emphasize the freshness and fruitiness of RICH.

Designed to be enjoyed on the rocks or bring out the Clicquologist in you and combine Veuve Clicquot RICH with pineapple, grapefruit zest, cucumber, celery, pepper or tea.

“Sugar in champagne is like spices in a recipe: when the dose is perfect it reveals new aromas and transforms the palate,” Dominique Demarville explains.

An Interview with Charles Keusters, Director of Food & Beverage, Casa De Campo, Dominican Republic

interviewCharles Keusters arrived at Casa de Campo December 2014 following a four-year run with Meliá Hotels International. His assignments included management positions with Paradisus Palma Real; Paradisus Punta Cana; INNSIDE Madrid Hotels; and ME Madrid. Charles earned his Hospitality Administration/Management Diploma from Les Roches Marbella. In addition, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Haverford College.

Casa de Campo Brief

Casa de Campo set the benchmark for luxury travel in the Dominican Republic back in the 1970’s and continues to elevate the standard.

This elite “sporting life” property is situated on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic, in the town of La Romana.

Luxury accommodations include 185 guest rooms, suites with private terraces, and over 50 villa homes some with private pools. Casa de Campos’s 7,000-acre property offers an abundance of recreational and relaxing activities, including: three award winning and truly spectacular golf courses “Teeth of the Dog”, “Dye Fore” and “The Links”, designed by award-winning designer Pete Dye; La Terraza Tennis Center; a 245 acre shooting center; polo and equestrian center; and variety of water sports. For relaxation and enjoying the sun, the spa and private beaches are a must. Six of the full-service restaurants provide International cuisine and wines all with breathtaking views. Casa de Campo has its own airport, heliport and marina; guests are welcome to arrive by air or by sea.

Liz Palmer

 What Food and Beverage concepts have you implemented since your arrival?

Charles Keusters

 My main objective is to give Casa de Campo villa owners and guests an experience they cannot find anywhere else – to make it a culinary destination.

The owners and guests have access to anything they want here. I like the culinary culture and always looking for new ideas – for my future plans, I’m looking to set up a riverboat where the chef will cook on the boat for guests. I’m also incorporating health and wellness into the menus and working with the chef to incorporate more indigenous vegetables and fruits into the menus along with local fresh fish, which is at our doorstep.

Liz Palmer

As Director of Food & Beverage of Casa De Campo, how do you manage your day and can your outline a typical workday for us?

Charles Keusters

It’s rarely the same every day for me.

I oversee private functions, all the restaurants, and catering for private yachts and planes.

Breakfast is usually at 7:30 am at Logo. Here I have breakfast and review my day. Then I do a-walk-around the property to see if everything is in order. 8:30 am there is usually a briefing with the General Manager. 9:00 am I have an executive committee meeting which includes the operations team where I review pricing and budging. After this meeting I walk around and oversee the various events around the property. Throughout the afternoon and evening I great guests and listen and respect their comments and suggestions.

Liz Palmer

What defines luxury to you?

Charles Keusters

Luxury is comfort, innovation, uniqueness, and anticipation, which are defining elements. Service also plays an important part.

Liz Palmer

Does Casa De Campo have a wine cellar? If so, how large is the inventory? Who maintains it? And who chooses the wines and prepares the wine list?

Charles Keusters

We have an 8,000 bottle cellar, with an inventory of French, Italian, Spanish, Chilean, Australian and New Zealand wines.

I manage and maintain the cellar and am currently reviewing the wine lists to make some future changes.

Liz Palmer

What is your favorite glass of wine to sip at the end of the day?

Charles Keusters

Wine is a personal experience – I like Italian and Spanish reds. Especially Cepa 21 from Spain.

Liz Palmer

Charles, how do you keep up on industry trends and cultural needs of global clients?

Charles Keusters

I’m personally interested in international industry trends. I read magazines, food blogs, and am constantly reviewing Instagram.When I travel I love to explore other cultures and their dishes.

Fresh from the Villers-Marmery vineyards of Champagne Henriet-Bazin, a chardonnay vine in flower

Fresh from the Villers-Marmery vineyards of Champagne Henriet-Bazin a chardonnay vine in flower. This principal growth stage falls between Leaf Development/Inflorescence Emerge and Development of Fruits.

Doc Schéma fleur de vigne + cadre copie

Principal features of a chardonnay vine in flower.


Source: Nicolas Rainon

12th Edition of Sicilia en Primeur #SiciliaEP15

2015-04-16 21.36.35Sicilia en Primeur was established in 2004. The purpose of this annual annual event is to present to the Italian and international press the latest vintages from the wineries belonging to Assovini Sicilia.

Over 100 international wine journalists invaded Sicily to attend the 12th edition of Sicilia en Primeur from April 14th – 18th, 2015. With over 40 participating wineries pouring 300 wines, we had the chance to taste “en primeur” wines from different parts of the island, and speak first hand with the winemakers and owners. This also gave us the chance to learn more about their terroir, history, landscape and the various winemaking regions on the Island.

This new generation of Sicilian wine producers have utilized the island’s enviable climate, indigenous grape varieties and fertile soil to win many international wine awards. Their wines have also won the hearts of many of the attending journalists.

So I heard… “Some of Italy’s finest wines are now being made in Sicily”.

Assovini Sicilia selected a sublime venue the Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay, Taormina, which had stunning views of the Mediterranean.

98Z-7N0Vv4rV4Yq7Y_XWcgfTOdOvOtFT5IPn9OaXun02015-04-17 06.25.52IMG_6470

Next Generation Germany – Lunch + Tasting Toronto May 21, 2015

FullSizeRender-3 copy 2Wines from Germany are represented again on wine lists of top restaurants and they have gained success in national and international wine competitions.

What has happened?

Next Generation Germany” – These are new generation wines, feature a reinvented taste and grape composition yet are made by traditional wine producing establishments – even some of the labels have been redesigned with a modern twist.

This next wave of winegrowers, winemakers, and managing directors are well educated, internationally oriented, and are an ambitious younger generation under the age of 35.

Canadian Wine Journalist David Lawrason led the Toronto trade tasting last week, along with German Wine Queen Janina Hahn. They discussed some of the under-35 style influencers, and explored new varieties and styles.

Also discussed some of the 2012 VDP Classification changes:

  • Hierarchy will more closely mirror the Burgundian model of Grand Cru and Premier Cru
  • Grosse Lage replaces Erste Lage as designation for top category
  • Grosse Lage wines: best dry wines and traditional Prädikat wine from the top sites
  • Regional terms for dry wines will continue to be used − Grosses Gewächs and Erstes Gewächs
  • Klassifizierte Lage: wine from good sites will be reviewed with the aim of reducing the number of vineyards
  • The introduction of the name Erste Lage for these classified sites will be optional on a region by region basis
  • The terms Grosse Lage and Erste Lage will fall under the new category of Langenwein

2012 VDP Appellations of Origin

  • Grosse Lage
  • Erste Lage
  • Ortsweine
  • Gutsweine

Trends discussed:

  • More use of large oak uprights vs. stainless steel
  • Choice of closures: screwcap vs. cork
  • Increase in use of indigenous yeasts vs. cultured yeasts
  • Increasing use of Burgundian techniques: batonage and barrique

We tasted seven Rieslings and five Spätburgunders (Pinot noir) which were paired deliciously with traditional German fare like pickled herring, smoked port belly sauerbraten and limburger.

This new initiative appears to be very successful because the wines tasted were consistently very good and more in line with what we now expect of wines that should work well in combination with food.


Weingut Hedesheimer Hof 2013 Riesling Dry

Weingut Kunstler 2013 Riesling Dry

Burklin-Wolf 2012 Altenburg Riesling Dry

Kruger Rumpf 2012 Riesling Dry

Kruger Rumpf 2007 Riesling Dry

Max Ferd Richter 2013 Riesling Spatlese

CH Berres 2012 Riesling Auslese

FullSizeRender-3 copy

Weingut Langenwalter 2012 Spätburgunder

Winzergenossenschaft Konigsschaffhausen

2012 Spätburgunder

Thorle 2012 Spätburgunder

Weingut Salwey 2012 Spätburgunder

Weingut Salwey 2004 Spätburgunder


What I learned about Rieslings –

For me simply sniffing a Riesling is a great pleasure – with hints of apple, citrus, peach and apricot.

Riesling is the most widely planted white grape variety in Germany, with 22,387 ha, with the main regions being, Pfalz, Mosel, Rheinhessen and Rheingau – this is 60% of all the Riesling in the world. The Riesling grape variety depends on the type of soil it grows in – heavy clay soils promote a citrus fruit aroma, red sandstone ensures flavours of apricot and slate soils create a concise mineral note, which is at time similar to flint. It’s good to know that Rieslings age beautifully.


What I learned about Spätburgunders –

Germany has an historic heritage of Spätburgunder (pinot noir) production, stretching back over 700 years, when Cistercian monks first took their grapes with them from Burgundy. Germany’s ascendency to emerging world class Spätburgunders largely dates from the late 1980s when the winemakers came back to fermenting skins with the must (take colour from the skins by alcohol not by heat). In this respect, German Spätburgunder is ‘newer’ than parts of the new world. Germany has the third largest plantings of Pinot Noir in the world after France, and USA. Spätburgunder is the most widely planted black grape variety in Germany, with 11,769 ha, with the main regions being Baden, Pfalz, Rheinhessen and Wurttemberg.

Spätburgunder has become more popular than ever and the great ones that have been hoarded in Germany by top restaurants and is rapidly gaining prominence in abroad for good reason. Spätburgunders have been compared to Pinot Noirs from Burgundy.